UNITED Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Zambia Dr Coumbia Mar Gadio has joined the country in mourning fourth republican president Rupiah Banda, saying Zambia has lost a peacemaker and quintessential diplomat.
And British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicolas Woolley says Banda will be remembered for his lifelong service and dedication to Zambia.
Meanwhile, veteran politician Vernon Johnson Mwaanga has described his long time friend as a gentle giant.
In a statement, Saturday, Dr Mar Gadio said Banda’s contributions to democracy in the country and across Africa were highly valued.
“The United Nations (UN) system in Zambia has received with deep regret and sadness, the death of Zambia’s Fourth Republican President, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda. Zambia has lost a peacemaker and quintessential diplomat whose contributions to democracy in the country and across the African continent were highly valued. We join the immediate family and the Government and people of Zambia in mourning the passing of this great statesman,” said Dr Mar Gadio.
And Woolley said Banda’s role in the August general elections was a befitting testament and legacy to the values he lived by.
“I am greatly saddened at the passing this evening of former President, His Excellency Mr Rupiah Banda. As a diplomat, head of state and elder statesman, President Banda will be remembered for his lifelong service and dedication to Zambia and its people. He was also a family man, who cherished spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. I extend my deepest condolences to the Banda family and to all Zambians at this difficult moment. Mr Banda was a warm and caring individual, with a wonderful sense of humor and deep respect for what was right. His central role in last August’s elections is [a] befitting testament and legacy to the values he lived by. May His Soul Rest in Internal Peace, he will be enormously missed,” said Woolley.
Meanwhile, Mwaanga said Banda always opted for friendship rather than confrontation.
“The passing of my brother and long time friend Rupiah Bwezani Banda, has devasted me beyond belief. We have been more than close, for more than six decades. He was a gentle giant, who always opted for friendship as opposed to confrontation. We stood tall together in times of sorrow and happiness. He was an accomplished diplomat and statesman. He looked for positives in people, rather than their weaknesses,” stated Mwaanga.
“Zambia has lost one of its greatest sons, at a time when his vast experience and knowledge were most needed. We traversed the world promoting and defending Zambia and Africa at large. His passing will leave a vacuum in my heart, which i will live with for the rest of my life. He bravely put up with severe pain during last days of his life like a brave soldier. May the Lord receive him in his Kingdom, forgive him his trespasses and grant him everlasting peace. His work on earth and legacy, will live on forever.”